Random snippets of my Friday

Look what I found!

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TABLE!

And check it out, I didn’t just move everything over to the kitchen counter to do it.

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KITCHEN COUNTER!

The stuff along the wall of the dining room are some of the pictures that need to get hung. They’re out of the way over there for now.

I also figured out where to put my SD card on Justin’s computer to get photos from my camera into the internet, which is helpful to know!!

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Thursday night, when Justin made it to California and I was heading to bed after the first full day of him being away, we chatted before I went to bed. He said that he figured my evening would have gone one of two different ways.

  1. I would go to bed early, which was the direction that I went.
  2. I would scarf down as much of the leftover Halloween candy as I could handle before getting sick and then be hopped up on sugar for the whole night.

Quick context check: At our old house, kids started knocking on the door Trick-or-Treating around 4:00, it seemed, and didn’t stop until around 9:00. We would run out of candy long before kids stopped walking down our street, even though we’d buy several bags worth of it. This year, we had a total of 5 kids at the door. FIVE. We had a LOT of candy left.

“Totally ahead of you,” I told Justin on Thursday. “I took that candy to work at lunch today.” Because, yes, I would definitely have made myself sick.

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Justin and I split up laundry duties — he runs the washing machine and I run the dryer. He sorts the laundry and loads it up with the appropriate type of soap and bleach and temperature of water. I move things from the washer to the dryer, pulling out the things that don’t get dried, and then make sure that things move from the dryer back into the closet folded and hung appropriately.

I had to wash a load of towels this morning and I actually had to go look up online what temperature I was supposed to use to wash towels because I had no idea. The reason Justin runs the wash is because I would wash everything on cold. Fabric softener? Bleach? NAH! Soap is all I need, right?!

Oh, maybe I was supposed to throw a color-safe bleach in there with those towels. . . .  Dang it.

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Other things I accomplished today:

  • Re-melted the candle that had gotten warm in the car while sideways (with a lid, thankfully) and gotten all the wax up the side of the jar, by putting it on the stove top on it’s lowest setting. And waiting.
  • Dried and folded all those towels that I washed.
  • Went to Michael’s for paint brushes for my next creative project. Looked at their baskets, but couldn’t find quite the right one.
  • Worked 10 hours.
  • Finally paid the deposit for our garage and reminded the office that the light isn’t working.
  • Invited people to the Pampered Chef party I’m hosting next weekend.

I think it was a pretty successful day!

Mid-March goal updates

It’s been about a month since I wrote about my goals, so how about an update on that?

First, a quick reminder that my goals by June 31st are:

  1. Pay at least $200/month extra toward our debts
  2. Sew at least 1 skirt and 1 shirt
  3. Be able to play 3 chords on my guitar
  4. Be able to run 1 mile contiguously
  5. Visit Chattanooga
  6. Grow 2 plants for food/spice
  7. Look into Lean/Six Sigma certification training
  8. Learn how to make better goals

And now a rundown on how those are going thus far:

  1. On track: Progress on paying off our debts is going fine. I haven’t got an actual update on the numbers right now, but I know that we’re making steady progress on paying these off and I’m happy about it.
  2. On track: I’ve got a skirt put together that needs finishing – I would like to top stich it with a double needle and I don’t have one. And I might tear it apart a little and do a better job along the waistline because it’s just not fitting quite right. I’ve got the fabric for the shirt that I’m making for Dad, but the pattern I have is the wrong size, so I’ll be taking that back and getting the right one. I should have the skirt done by the end of the weekend and I hope to have the shirt done by the time Justin and I catch up with Mom and Dad on their April Tour of Homes.
  3. COMPLETE: I am happy to say that I have exceeded this goal already! I can play 6 chords: C, G7, F, Am, Dm, & E7! I have my second lesson with Dad tonight and I’m very excited about it! I’m listing this goal as completed, but I’m certainly not going to stop working hard at this. I’m enjoying it far too much to stop now!
  4. At risk: Exercising regularly has been, so far, my biggest goal-progress failing and I haven’t shown any significant progress. I need to put more focused energy on this.
  5. COMPLETE: The Chattanooga visit was fantastic and we very much enjoyed the city. We’re still evaluating it (or, at least, I am) and weighing the options and everything. At this point, moving is such a long ways out that this is not a significant goal.
  6. On track: The parsley is still alive! And I’m going to look more into what would need to happen in order to grow strawberries.
  7. At risk: Dad sent me a great link about Six Sigma training, but I haven’t taken the time to read it yet, so I really need to sit down and do that. Mom also mentioned professional editing and I’m going to review again why I dismissed that as an option previously. This is the other goal that I really need to put some focus into but haven’t managed to do so just yet.
  8. Tabled: I think the way I’m working on the goals that I’ve set for myself is working out just fine, so I’m letting this one go for now. I’m very pleased with the progress that I’ve been able to make, so why fuss about it?

 

How did I do on my goals for last week?

I started on this post over the weekend to show how I’d done on my goals for last week. I was going to post it on Monday, along with an updated list for this coming week.

And then I woke up on Monday and fought against a panic attack all day long. Huge amounts of anxiety and paranoia and issues. Wanna know how much fun that was at work? It was ZERO fun. Fortunately, I have an awesome husband and once I got home, my evening was delightfully relaxing. And I didn’t touch my computer all evening.

Here we are on Tuesday now, and I guess it’s not too late to post this information. It’s just not quite as timely as I’d hoped.

So, how did I do on my goals for last week?

  • Pull out the items for Craigslist and eBay that we were going to sell and get them looking nice, take pictures, figure out how much they’re worth, and get them listed.
    • Things posted:
      • Glass bowls from the wedding that we never found a reason to use
      • Screen door that we never used and I’m not entirely sure where it actually came from in the first place
      • Tennis racquet that I never used because, of the racquet games, I prefer racquetball
      • Old TV that’s been sitting in a corner because we don’t need three TVs. We hardly use two.
      • Old TV and stand that we don’t want to use anymore. The stand’s just been taking up space and we really only use one TV and the other one is better.
    • Things not yet posted because they’re in the attic and we didn’t get up there:
      • Jars from the wedding that have been in box since the day of the wedding
      • Castle building set that I’ve never seen outside of the box
    • Sadly, no bites from anyone interested in buying anything yet.
  • Review budgets for February and make sure we’re sticking to them.
    • So far so good!!
  • Look up the information about gored skirts again and work out the details on how to create a pattern for that.
    • I got distracted by looking up patterns and fabric for a flannel shirt for Dad, so I didn’t do the skirt, but I have made progress on the shirt.
    • Also, I made a little pin cushion just for fun
  • Pull out the guitar, re-learn how to tune the strings, and read though the book I bought about how to learn how to play.
    • Tuned the strings and practiced out of the book for a while
    • Started setting up a time to do Skype lessons with Dad
  • Go walking/do aerobics or yoga/go for a bike ride a couple times this week.
    • This one was a big fat failure. I can do better!
  • Ask Justin if he needs/wants  my help with the Chattanooga planning.
    • Nope, he’s good.
  • Figure out what plant to grow – I’ve got parsley already, if I can keep it alive. What else do I want to grow? Basil? Oregano? Strawberries?
    • Yeah, I’m still not sure about this one.
  • Remember to water the parsley.
    • The parsley will live to see another week!
  • Look up what goes into Lean/Six Sigma training.
    • I did nothing on this one at all.
  • Go to the library and look up books on goal planning (also pick up books on gardening and sewing)
    • And I never made it close to the library

Looking at this coming week, I’m not going to make very many goals for myself because we’re going to be out of town. (Any robbers interested in the house, our neighbors have dogs and they keep an eye on our house very well because it’s attached to their own and they use our parking spaces!) And in order to work a 4 day week two weeks in a row, I have to put in long hours the next couple days.

That said, this is what I’m looking at this week:

  • Contact people back if they email about the things on Craigslist
  • Don’t spend crazy lots of money in Chattanooga
  • Figure out a pattern and fabric for the shirt for Dad
  • Have a guitar lesson with Dad on Thursday
  • Walk as much as possible, whenever possible
  • Explore Chattanooga and see if it’s somewhere we’d like to eventually move. And have a whole heck of a lot of fun while we’re at it; enjoy each other’s company while we’re driving, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the changing of the weather, and just enjoy the ever-living snot out of the whole weekend.

And then there’s things like packing and doing laundry and finishing the project for Mom and sending that back to her, working 40 hours (minimum) and getting a new tire on the car before we drive 6 hours each way on a bald tire.

Thankfully, the anxiety that plagued me yesterday hasn’t been a problem today. And that’s great because something is going on with people at work and everybody’s already a little bit on edge.

If you don’t hear from me again in a couple days, it’s because I’m working like crazy and then enjoying myself like crazy! I’ll try to come back from Chattanooga with loads and loads of photos! (Because they’re the souvenir that’s FREE!)

Goal planning and Me

I’ve spent a bit of time lately considering my goals and wishes for my life. I find that I have a lot of “I wish” things. Things like “I wish I spoke German” and “I wish I could play guitar” and “I wish Justin and I could travel to Austria.”

The problem is that it’s tricky to look at my life today and figure out how to get from here to Austria, speaking German, and plucking away on a guitar. It’s this enormous situational gap and while I have all these wishes, I haven’t actually done a whole lot of planning out how to get from here to there.

So I’ve been thinking about how that would actually work. I’m sure that there are books and lots of resources that go into how to do this, but I haven’t actually gotten that technical yet. What I’ve been doing is this:

  1. I wrote down a huge long list of my wishes and goals for the future.
  2. From there, I tried to narrow down a handful of ones that I want to focus on right now, because it’s a really long list and I can’t work on all of them at once. There just isn’t enough time or brain space.
  3. And then I tried to break it down even further, into the things that I want to do in the next 6 months to work toward those goals.
  4. And from there, even more, I’ve got to break it down into things that I can do each week to get working toward those goals.

So the big wishes that I’m working on right now are (and several of these will be familiar from the Smoky Mountain planning):

  1. Be debt free
  2. Be a great seamstress
  3. Play guitar
  4. Run half-marathons
  5. Move to the mountains
  6. Grow vegetable gardens
  7. Find a career that I really enjoy
  8. Plan for the future better

That seems like a lot. In order to get to those goals, my 6 month goals are:

  1. Pay at least $200/month extra toward our debts
  2. Sew at least 1 skirt and 1 shirt
  3. Be able to play 3 chords on my guitar
  4. Be able to run 1 mile contiguously
  5. Visit Chattanooga
  6. Grow 2 plants for food/spice
  7. Look into Lean/Six Sigma certification training
  8. Learn how to make better goals

That seems more manageable. From there, my goals for this week look like this:

  1. Pull out the items for Craigslist and eBay that we were going to sell and get them looking nice, take pictures, figure out how much they’re worth, and get them listed.
  2. Review budgets for February and make sure we’re sticking to them.
  3. Look up the information about gored skirts again and work out the details on how to create a pattern for that.
  4. Pull out the guitar, re-learn how to tune the strings, and read though the book I bought about how to learn how to play.
  5. Go walking/do aerobics or yoga/go for a bike ride a couple times this week.
  6. Ask Justin if he needs/wants  my help with the Chattanooga planning.
  7. Figure out what plant to grow – I’ve got parsley already, if I can keep it alive. What else do I want to grow? Basil? Oregano? Strawberries?
  8. Remember to water the parsley.
  9. Look up what goes into Lean/Six Sigma training.
  10. Go to the library and look up books on goal planning (also pick up books on gardening and sewing).

It’s a pretty big list for one week, I think. And that’s not including the normal around the house things that I tend to do, keeping things tidy, organizing things that get out of order, all of our Present Time Plans compared to our Future Plans. Like, figure out how to actually get the most out of the limited space we have in this kitchen and keep the house clean and figure out how to NOT let the library just be a dumping ground for stuff we’re not sure where to put.

But it’s that’s also a sign of how badly I’ve done at working toward my big goals. I’ve spent more than a year with this guitar sitting in my living room and a book about how to play and I’ve barely touched it. It’s not something I’ll learn by osmosis, no matter how much I wish I could play. And it’s not like it’s this complicated trick – work on the small stuff to get to the big stuff. Stick within the budget and we’ll have money at the end of the month left over. Go for a walk today to build up muscles for running later. Water the parsley this week to keep it alive to next week.

But I have a tendency to be lazy. I get home and sit on my butt, playing a video game or reading a book. If it’s a productive evening, I’ll make sure the house is tidy and the dishes are washed. I get more done over the weekends, when I have more time to dedicate toward a project, or during the summer when there’s more light in the evening. But I’d still get to the end of the month (and the year) and wonder “What happened to the time? Why haven’t I figured out how to play that guitar yet?”

So this is how I’m hoping to address that problem – by intentionally setting up manageable goals. If I can’t make it at least partially through that list of things for the week, then I’ve got to figure out what exactly I’m doing with my time, and if what I’m doing is of more value to me than the end goals that I’m working toward, then I’ll re-evaluate my goals.

For example: Last week, I worked a lot of long, frustrating hours at work, covering for a coworker who was out of the office due a death in her family. I intentionally spent my evenings away from computers and doing things that I found extremely relaxing because if I didn’t, I wasn’t going to make it through the week. As it was, I found myself loudly venting my frustration about my boss toward Justin on Friday afternoon, raising my voice and behaving badly. Last week, my one goal for the week was just to make it through the week with my marriage and my job still in place. Having managed that, I took the weekend to really enjoy spending time with Justin. And now I have the brain space to consider my other goals.

I think it’s important, too, to realize that goals change over time. I might decide that playing guitar just isn’t my thing. And that’s okay. It’d be silly to keep trying to be able to play guitar if I decided that I just don’t enjoy it. And maybe that’s one of those “Well, d’uh!” things, but I think it’s worth saying anyway. I think sometimes people get an idea stuck in their head that they “ought to” do or be something and they keep working toward that idea when it’s just not what they really want to do. They just feel like they should.

This post got a whole lot longer than I had originally intended! I guess I had a lot more to say about this than I thought.

For anyone who’s interested, I keep my To Do list on Wunderlist. It’s an online, desktop, Android-device compatible list-thing.  I find it super-easy to use, pretty to look at, and I can share my lists; I’m just not sure with how many people I can share them. I’m going to try to keep on top of my goals using that tool. If you want more information about that, I can try to get that to you.

Goals and plans

I’ve been trying to figure out where to start this post, but I’m having trouble. There are so many thoughts bouncing around in this head of mine and they refuse to settle down into organized sentences. Let’s see if they’ll fall out into an un-sorted list:

  • Seeing everybody for the reunion was AWESOME! We enjoyed that a lot
    • Erica, can you go in and write up the notes that we decided at the meeting?
  • Justin and I decided that we really, REALLY love the mountains and we’d like to live there.
  • We’re currently working on a 2 year plan to move to the Smokies.
  • 2 years is the goal because that’s how long it’ll take Jessi to finish grad school and we want to be around her as long as we can.
    • She doesn’t plan to stay in this area after she’s done, but we’re not sure where she plans to go.
  • It’ll also take us that long (at least) to work off our debts and build up some money
  • We’re thinking of buying property with a good amount of acreage
    • I want goats
    • He wants ducks
  • We’re not sure if we’d buy land and build or buy a house and improve it or what, but because that’s still a long way off, we’re not worried about it too much.
  • We have a lot of work to do to get our finances in line and that’s going to be out biggest push for a while.
  • Our friend Julie would move with us because she said “it’s either there or back to Wisconsin. But mountains!” We’ll see if her opinion changes between now and when we actually move
  •  We’re looking at areas first that have a Costco because Justin has a lifetime membership and because the amount we could save by shopping there is actually kind of impressive
  • So far, of the 4 towns that have a Costco in the mountains between northern Georgia and southern Virginia, Chattanooga, TN, is the city we like the best. It’s not decided yet, but there are a lot of things there that we like so far.
    • Nathan and Amy, that’s like 2 hours from you. The boys could all get together and play cards pretty often!
  • We haven’t written up our formal goals and stuff, but I’ll be working on that here soon.
  • Meanwhile, I’m reading up on what it’s like to live out in the country, because my understanding of it as a kid is completely different from reality. :)
    • Like what does living on well water and having a septic tank actually require?
  • We won’t be rushing into this. We’re doing a lot of research and planning our finances and trying to be as responsible about this a possible.
  • On the other hand, we’re both SUPER EXCITED about this and keep fantasizing what we’d like it to be like.
  • And that’s why it’s a good thing we’re taking it slow….
  • We’ve also realized that we’re kind of fat and lazy and we’re working on that by taking at least a 3 mile walk every day.
    • We’ll make that a jog as soon as we’re actually physically able, but that won’t be for a while, at least for me.
  • I’m also evaluating what exactly I want to do with my career because I’ve mostly just been floating from one opportunity to the other, but maybe if I figured out what I’d actually like to do, I might be more happy doing it.
  • Justin’s also looking at the same sort of thing.

So, there’s lots going on, planning-wise. I have to sit down and make formalized plans soon because we both do better when we have firm goals established (and published on the fridge). More information will be coming as soon as I’ve got more information.